tv CNN Newsroom CNN May 19, 2011 8:00am-10:00am PDT
a look ahead at stories making news later today. officials unveil their findings on the deadly collapse that kill 29 coal miners last april. at 11:30, noaa releases it outlook on the hurricane season. and we're less than an hour away from president obama's scheduled address. he is expected to lay out his proposed vision for the middle east. i won't be here fit talk back today, but i'll be back tomorrow. >> obviously the speech is a very important speech. >> i'll be listening. sdl tha >> thank you, carol. >> want to get you up to speed for thursday, may 19th. president obama on revolution in a the arab world and the opportunities now that bin laden is gone. the president's going to speak at the state department, that's
about 40 minutes from now. we're taking a look at live pictures showing you there the flag set up, the podium set up, waiting for the president to be speaking. that will be happening momentarily. now, of course we're taking a look at how the events a world away impact your security, our standing in the world. we've got a few details ahead of the speech. the president is expected to say that the post-bin laden area is a time to reject terror and extremist views. the president will emphasize that the united states doesn't take a one size fits all approach to change in the region. and he's going to announce $2 billion in aid to help egyptian democracy take root. a tape was released that is bin laden speaking just days after his death. the speaker expresses support for the revolutionary change in the arab world.
if. former imf chief dominique strauss-kahn will ask a new york judge to release him on bail. that's happening today. he is offering $1 million cash to be confined at home and he'll give up his u.n. travel documents. the attorney for the woman says the prospect of bail is upsetting. >> she's very concerned about what has happened. >> strauss-kahn has resigned from the imf.
in a letter he insists he did not commit a crime. the mississippi river is topping out at an all-time high today at vicksburg. forecasters say that the river will remain at crest until saturday p. the mississippi is a foot over the 1927 record. the worst of flooding stretches up the yazoo river which emptiesempties into the mississippi mere vicksburg. this is home video of one of the two confirmed tornados that struck northern maryland. the national weather service says this twister near hagers town stayed on the ground for two miles. top winds hit 90 to 100 miles an hour. fortunately no one was hurt. but roofs took a beating. trees were snapped and uprooted about. doctors in husbaouston will update the condition of gabby giffords. her husband in an interview with
pbs today from the space station says the surgery went really well. mark kelly says his wife will turn to therapy today. president obama responding to the revolutionary change that is sweeping across the middle east in north africa, that speech happening this hour. our coverage is focusing on how these dramatic changes a world away can affect your daily life. so we are talking about security from iran and its nuclear ambitions to the war on terror. what happens in the middle east influences how safe we are in this country. we're also focusing on the economy. and in-stabt in the middle east. plus we'll examine how developments in the region effect america's standing in the world. want to discuss dollars and sense of it all. president obama offering aid for
democratic reform. he plans to propose new economic help for egypt and tunisia. it will include $1 billion in loan guarantees and another billion in debt forgiveness to help create jobs in egypt. plus he's going to also provide world financial institutions to help those two countries. the president needs to convince americans it benefits us here at home. our alison kosik joins us live from the stock exchange and explain to us why arab instability affects us here in the united states. >> reporter: because it has a lot on do with volatility and that's kind of a four letter world here on wall street. the markets don't like volatility and instability. think about it. earlier this year, uprisings in egypt and libya and bahrain caused temporary jolts here on wall street and traders say by sending money to the arab world, the u.s. is buying stability. they say it's really money well
spent, ann n veinvestment in nal security. the country would be even more of a threat if we haven't sent aid there over the years. and the just sent billions to the mubarak government. and no wars between egypt and israel since 1973. so you talk to traders here, they are in the stability camp. >> and everyone knows the big u.s. interests is clearly about the oiled, so how does what happened over there in the middle east paeaffect how much pay for gas here? >> anyone who has filled up their car knows the answer to that. take you a look at what oil prices have done so far this year, prices jumping following those outbreaks of unrest in egypt and libya. some of the biggest oil spikes came when there was fear of protests spreading to sawed dir saudi arabia. so you think prices are high now, you'll see those go through
the roof. >> all right, thank you very much. here's a run down of some of the stories ahead in our cnn newsroom. special coverage of president obama's speech on the middle east. it started in tunisia. quickly spread to other countries in north africa as well as the middle east. we'll look back at how the arab uprisings evolved. also why is a popular protest called the arab spring? we'll tell you why. and plus pushing for peace. what is the difference this type around with this american president? also ahead, what do people in yemen and libya want to hear from president obama? >> in yemen, hundreds of thousands of protesters have been coming out into the streets for months with one simple demand. th that their president step down. they say they need to hear president obama specifically recognize their cause to show them that he understands that what's going on in yemen isn't just a political crisis, it's a
re revoluti revolution. and while they're glad president obama has condemned the violence, they would also like him to impose sanctions the way he did against syria. i'm in benghazi. the people here in the eastern part of the country that we've been able to speak with are telling thaws they're pretty happy so far with obama's policy on libya. what they would like to, though, hear from him during his speech is three things. they would like to hear that he be willing to help fund the opposition, that he be willing to help train the rebels and arm the rebels. those three hinges. now, when it comes to the arab world as a whole, they say the best way for mr. obama to try to make that relationship better is that he needs to fully address the palestinian israeli conflict. building up our wireless network all across america. we're adding new cell sites... increasing network capacity, and investing billions of dollars to improve your wireless network experience.
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[ male announcer ] wherever you are, whatever it takes, like a good neighbor, state farm is there. ♪ president obama will discuss how the killing of bin laden was an important development in the fight against terrorism, but that is just one aspect of how middle east developments are affecting uls security. we want to bring in fareed. you're in cairo, the bell liy o the beast. are we any safer? >> reporter: we're certainly safer in the sense that we're dealing with an arab world that
is much less unstable in the long run. there is going to be short run instability, there will be a lot of hiccups and this is a roller coaster ride, but the path that arab societies are on now is one that will ensure a great deal more fundamental stibability. dictatorships seem stable, but that a short run phenomenon. at the end of the day, tensions acubeing a accumulate and finally it bursts tak as did behind me in tahrir square. >> we know will be was committed to present pressing the reset button with the middle east. here's how he laid it out back this 2009, his speech in cairo. >> i've come here to cairo to seek a new beginning between the united states and muslims around the world. one based on mutual interest and mutual respect.
and one based upon the truth that america and islam are not exclusive and not be in competition. >> so he wanted to fundamentally change the way the united states related it to the middle east, wanted to restore u.s. credibility in the world, our standing in the world, and to longer be seen as what some people saw as president obama a warmong warmonger. does the arab world see president obama differently than president bush. >> from what i can sense, pd a this is a vast generalization, the arab word does like president obama a lot more than most recent presidents. particularly in some areas and less true in others, buts his approval ratings have not nosed up much because at the end of the day, they seem to distinguish between the person barack obama whom they admire
and the president of the united states, the post he holds. and there they feel that american policies are still not where they would like them to be. but i do think that the issue of peace, these are all secondary to what is the overriding action for most people here in egypt and i think across the arab world what is the fate of their own society. you've heard me say before this is about them, not us, and you see that more clearly in egypt than anywhere else. the revolution has not been completed. after having successfully brought down mubarak, the military is still in power. military courts still operate. martial law still rates. and there is a great deal of unhappiness in egypt about the fact that they launched and
spectacular revolution, but stuck with the same regime. so i think they'll look for the kind of recognition that this revolution has just begun and it will still take a lot of work and perhaps a lot of american support to make sure the revolution is completed. >> thank you very much for your perspective. obviously you'll be sticking around for post analysis. it's and ongoing historic movement really of the people. flooding across borders and cultures. major implications for america's security as well as our economy. in that way the middle east uprisings do affect all of us. many say it began with the incredible sacrifice of a single frustrated citizen. starting with tunisia where annen employed graduate student sets himself on fire after a city inspector con miss indicates his unlicensed fruit
court. his death sparks unprecedented fury and protest again the government informationing tunisia's long time president to flee. in algeria, riots break out over rising food prices and housing crisis. in yemen, students take to the streets. emboldened by its neighbors in the region, egypt erupts in rallies against the president. >> we will die for our freedom! >> egypt's uprising sends shockwaves through the middle east. demonstrations spread like wildfire. it's the beginning of a sea change in the arab world. iran see as re renewal of the
green revolution. and then for protesters, a break through in egypt. after decades in power, mubarak caves to public pressure, quietly resigning, fireworks light the sky. in other middle east and north african countries, protests either fail to catch on or are put down by government forces. for others the violence intensifies. >> we will be victorious in it fight. >> the united states whether he had by american forces sends air strikes in to libya. but the standoff continues. mean while syria descends in to chaos. protests take hold in the south and met with chilly retaliation from the government. hundreds there are killed. now the united states is issuing sanctions in an attempt to end the violence. >> the protests and violence are
still spreading. on sunday, thousands of palestinians descended on the israeli border to protest the anniversary of israel's creation. at least a dozen people were killed. the event highlights a key problem in the obama administration that it now faces, striking a balance between arab protesters demanding change and supporting israel, a major ally that finds itself surrounded by this movement. so where does the term arab spring even come from? we trace the name and movement back to its revolutionary roots.
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it's made up of unique countries as well as cultures, but it's being called the arab spring. what's the significance and historical con tent of ttext of. >> the answer is a little more complex. some people point to the spring of nations, these were european revolutions or i should say european revolts back in 1848. and that is when a bunch of countries from sicily to austria rebelled. they were unsuccessful. others look to the european revolutions of 1989. those were largely successful.
you saw a lot of democratic revolutions as countries broke away from the soviet union. the berlin wall both fell. but differences there because not all of these countries have achieved did democracies in their proceed testprotests. the best way to define the upheaval with a probably best be when we're discussing these protest revolutions and political policy changes that have affected several middle eastern and north african nations. >> so is it fair to identify all of these in the same way is this. >> not entirely. there are definitely similarities with them. there are a lot of people here, one of the things they have in common are the methods of protests. you have people turning out en masse calls for change. the media, similarities there, too. social media have played a role. and public turnout. at the end of the day, it's not just media, it's people coming out and speaking against their government demanding that change. the differences here include the change sought.
some want revolution, others just want improved living conditions. government responses have been different. we had revolutions in some countries and other countries government crackdowns. and then the potential outcomes. is democracy likely in all of these? those are unanswered questions. >> all right. thanks for breaking it down for us. clearly president obama is looking to support the revolutionary fever sweeping the arab word. he'll spell out his plan live in a couple of minutes. i'd like to bring in wolf blitzer. i'm die to go talk to you because both of us covers presidents clinton pd a bush and i remember during the last six months bush sent out secretary rice, there was blitz of diplomacy, pledging he'd get the middle east peace done before he left office. never happened. what do you think is different this time around with this president in achieving peace? >> and you remember that last minute the campaign on get some
kind of arab peace deal, there was a similar effort in the final months of the clinton administration back in 2000. so it's not unusual. right now it doesn't look like there are a whole lot of partners out will. not a lot of trust. israelis did have a relationship with abbas, but now that hamas has forged this agreement to have this unity, israelis don't trust them by any mean, u.s. as you know regards hamas as a terrorist organization. so it doesn't look like the president if he's trying to revive the israeli palestinian peace process right now, there it's not a whole lot of confidence that they have in him and probably he doesn't have a whole lot of confidence in them either. so i assume we'll hear some generic, some general phrases, but not a specific presidential
plan, full, a blif you will. >> i want to play a bit of an interview discussion that i had with formerrd jimmy carter just a couple weeks ago who believes that hamas has to be at the negotiating table if this is god to work. take a listen. >> there have been atrocities committed by hamas and fatah. and on occasionally a lot of palestinians are killed who are not combat tapt. so things happen in a case of serious disagreement. but this new agreement is a major step forward. >> how do you suppose the obama administration gets beyond this hurdle, that hamas is now in these discussions? you have president obama meeting with israeli's prime minister netanyahu tomorrow at the white house. neither one of them will go for this about. >> the only way they would go for it, the only way they would agree with former president jimmy carter is if hamas did
what the u.s., israelis, you are pea europeans, have been asking them on do, accept israel's right to exist, renounce terrorism and accept all previous agreements. so far hamas hasn't been willing to do that. and i expect the israelis won't go along with any negotiations with a palestinian group that includes hamas. the u.s. has been on the fence on that. we might be a little bit more specific information from president obama today. i do suspect, though, as much as the palestinians and israelis are interested in what the president has to say as far as their issue is concerned, most of the president's speech will deal with the so-called arab spring, the democracy movement in north africa and the middle east and how it affects the united states. so it's probably going to be a much more -- much broader speech. >> this might be a difficult question for folkses to figure out, but what do you think the
killing of bin laden -- how do you think that factors in to the president's ability to move forward now to make any kind of change or influence in the middle east in do you think middle east? >> i think it strengthens his credibility. i think as far as north africa and the middle east and south asia for that matter, i think they see him as a player much more someone who delivers the goods, swron womeone who kt a a only talks. they may be disappointed in some of the things he's said and done, but they'll take him more serious. >> everything you need to know before the president's big speech. president obama live from the state department this just a few minutes talking about the u.s. and the shifting landscape in the arab world. at work, building up our wireless network all across america. we're adding new cell sites... increasing network capacity, and investing billions of dollars
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president obama responds to the revolutionary changes sweeping the middle east. he deliver as major speech just minutes from now. this is cnn newsroom special coverage of the president's address. >> we want to welcome our viewers there around the world watching us on cnn international. the president will touch on all the major flash points in the middle east and north africa or at least some of them for sure. >> no doubt about that. president obama will also discuss how the united states could help the region through economic and political reform.
he'll talk about efforts to try to revive the israeli palestinian peace process at the same time. cnn is committing its vast global resources to this pivotal speech. nic robertson is live in tunisia. kevin flower standing by in jerusal jerusalem. stan grant is also with us. >> people across the arab world are paying close attention because this is president obama's first comprehensive response to the revolts jolting the region. his speech follows the u.s. killing of terrorist mastermind osama bin laden, of course. >> and we're also bringing to bear cnn's political resources throughout the country. john king is here in washington along with gloria borger. also want to welcome ed henry
over live at the white house. we're live at the state department. all part of the best political team on television. hugely important speech today. people will be watching not only closely here in the united states, but throughout north africa, the middle east and around the world. >> it's one of those stories that all of uts have been covering for months now, even years as you go from one administration to the next. all of them trying to establish middle east peace. the drama has been unfolding here in the middle east, as well, and all of us can give perspective on how this has gone about. you've been in the region for so long covering this. the last time we were at the white house together, the president wanted to bring forward middle east peace and you had all the major players there, includes mubarak. and we were talking about this and he said people just didn't believe it was possible.
>> right. final status, gesh yapnegotiati september of 201 1rks even though the expectations were so low, didn't seem they could go any lower. given the response we've receive order twitter, as well, and all around the world, the bloggers, analysts talking about what their expectations are of the speech, they are low. it will be difficult for the president to disappoint because will is so little expectation attached. >> why do you suppose that s's case? >> i think because after the cry r cairo 2009 speech and the expectation that president obama would if effect change externally. they didn't see that happen. what they saw happen is that when change came, it came through them, through the people in the streets. so i think the arab mind, the arab mindset has changed. it's gone from help us from the outside to we can do from the inside.
>> you talked about credit ability and how the president had more presented ability because osama bin ladw credibility because osama bin laden has beenkied. do you think the president has better standing, stronger standing with those in the arab world now? >> i think he does. because everyone around the world respectses power, if full, they respect credibility. here the president had the guts to go and do what had been primed for almost ten years. he succeeded. so i think on that level his credibility will be going up. the question is whether or not he will be consistent. he called mubarak to accept down. did he. he called for gadhafi to step down. we see what's happening there. right now he's stepping stopping short in syria. so twll be beinghere will be ac hypocrisy. >> and this was a grass roots
effort. a lot of people are wondering why should we even pay attention to what president obama has to say. has the u.s. lost some of its strength, some of its power? because for the longest time, the obama adminadministration, d a minneso administration, they bolstering up dictators. >> and the pioint wolf made is probably the most important one. if you are going to have a coherent strategy, it can only treat all countries the same way. so many of the people reacting giving us their ideas of what to anticipate ahead of this speech are saying if you mention egypt, if you mention libya, if you even mention syria, that's all fine. but if you leave out bahrain, yemen, saudi arabia, then what weight can we give any of the words included in this speech. that's a very important sort of -- i think an important thing
that the president will have to address and a fine line he'll have to walk. >> we'll be watching that and the reaction around the world. we'll have more after this quick break. we're following president obama's remarks regarding the uprisings and the u.s. vision in the middle east. business is goo! it must be if you're doing all that overnight shipping. that must cost a fortune. it sure does. well, if it doesn't have to get there overnight, you can save a lot with priority mail flat rate envelopes. one flat rate to any state, just $4.95. that's cool and all... but it ain't my money. i seriously do not care... so, you don't care what anyone says, you want to save this company money! that's exactly what i was saying. hmmm... priority mail flat rate envelopes, just $4.95 only from the postal service. a simpler way to ship.
this is cnn newsroom special coverage of president obama's speech on the middle east. i'm suzanne malveaux. >> we want to welcome our viewers watching around the world on cnn international. >> and i'm wolf blitzer here in washington. we're only a few minute he's away from the speech addressing all the dramatic changes in the middle east and north africa. let's bring in ed henry. we know the secretary of state hillary clinton will introduce the president. we're standing by for that introduction. but set the scene for us. >> reporter: this is a huge speech. aides say he'll go on for about 45 minutes because he has a lot of ground to cover. you'll remember two years ago in june he was in cairo, he spoke to the muslim world and was trying a new beginning. not a lot of that vision has been realized. he promised to close down the
military prison at guantanamo. that's still not closed even though the president himself has called that a recruiting tool for al qaeda. on the other hand, of course in recent weeks, he led the mission that ended up killing osama bin laden. and he wants to aides say use this speech as a way to offer an alternative vision to people in the muslim world, alternative from al qaeda. he also wants to talk about libya, syria, the israeli peace process. that underlines the challenge, to try to take a step back after everyone's had a chance to take a breath, if you will, and take in what's really happened in the arab spring and then wrap all those other issues together. that is an awful lot that the president has on his 34r5iplate. i don't think anyone should come out of this saying east he'll solve the peace process or figures out what's next in syria. but instead what he wants to do after months of taking criticism for not weighing in enough and
maybe not being consistent enough in his approach in the mideast to finally layout what the u.s. vision is. one key point specifically, he will talk a lot about aides say is an economic vision, that there was not just a thirst for human rights, but a thirst frankly for jobs, for economic opportunity and that this are millions of young arabs who are crying out saying they're tired of the corrupt systems they're dealing with where oil rich nations have been swallowing up and not sharing it with their own people. so he'll talk about aid, loan guarantees, but that it's just a small step. and for years and years of effort that it will take to nurture some of these young emerging democracies. >> you had an interesting tweet today about one of the chief speechwriters. tell our viewers. >> it was friday night and i
happened to bunch into the president's national security speechwriter. he was at a starbucks. i saw him with his laptop and said are you writing the middle east speech? and he kind of laughed and said yeah. this is a person, looked pretty tired at that moment late on friday night writing this speech. this national security team as you know in recent weeks was caught up in the osama bin laden mission, keeping that quiet behind the scenes and then completing that mission. now they're quickly turning to this. president next week has a big trip to europe, so no rest and this is a big moment for this president. >> let's bring in george i cain and john king. is this a time where everyone wants to hear more aid? >> you can already hear republicans say bhag about the unemploymented in the united states. but i think more broadly, what the president is trying to do is explain to the american people
as you head into this election what he's achieved. he's tried to reach out to the muslim world, he's tried to fight terrorism and tried to deal with this peace process which has been eelusive. so, yes there, are issues. why are you giving $2 billion abroad. we need that money here. but in the harnlger accepts, he's also got to prove that there's been a method so-to-what he's trying to do. and he's got to make some sense of it. >> a lot of folks, the oil rich arab countries, whether audi arabia or gate or united emerald emirates, why does the united states always have to do it? >> the president wants them spend their money, but the united statess has to be a player in the reasoning gion.
let's start by saying he has a near impossible challenge here. there are so many different and unique separate challenges. he will say the united states of course unsupports democratic movements around the world. he will say that as a broad principle. however, you will hear as i heard yesterday from a 24-year-old blogger, why aren't you standing with us now, why are you giving and i had to the egyptian military. they're not moving forward on the elections in the way we would like it. how can you say you're for democracy but then support the bahrainian regime when it cracks down on the majority of its population. so he has to say we also have strategic interests and about if the bahraini government fell that would give influence across the bridge. so it comes into direct collision with your daily challenges. whether the oil, the naval base, or as you mentioned whether this administration will be the u.s. administration that finally abandons the thought that maybe
all that time in london good make him pro western. right now they're coming to the conclusion that is a mirage and it's time to move on. >> we'll be listening closely to all of these developments. we're only a few months away. hillary clinton will introduce the president of the united states at the state department. we'll have extensive live coverage. you'll hear the speeches. stand by. curtis: welcome back to geico radio, it's savings, on the radio. gecko: hello clarence from stevens point. clarence: ok, you know the grapes at the grocery ore? clarence: well, sometimeyoone.
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went into the situation room and i made this very difficult decision. that type has passed. and in fact you can kind of argue that osama bin laden broadly speaking doesn't make that much difference compared to what's really going on. and that is the arab spring and the implications of that. this is a region that he's talking about 400 million people. the population, majority population, under 30. a lot of them unemployed, very high unemployment. so the economic issues are crucial and that's why we heard last night information coming out with these programs to help egypt and tunisia because they realize that even in those two countries, the ones that have gone the furthest in this arab spring, withey could slip back it a heartbeat if they don't have the jobs people need.
and the world has changed. you could almost say this administration is trying to catch the tail of the tiger on these uprisings that have taken place. >> one of the thing it is that we keep talking about is the money, the investments here. and obviously the administration was trying to buy stability in the region. and for a while it worked. but we still don't know if it will be stable in egypt. you have christians and muslims fighting in tahrir square, how do we know -- i know it's important the economic impact, but how do we know this is going to bring about pro american or pro democracy change? >> you don't know and you never know. but there is a realization coming from the united states, you felt that over the last few months, that in order for there to be political stability in this region, there has to be economic opportunity. for the tens of millions of young people under the age of 30 that have not benefitted from the fruit of economic growth in
egypt because of the levels of corruption that have only afforded opportunity to those part of the system and close to the areregime. even if you go up to $5 billion or $10 billion, that's still a drop in the bucket. it needs fundamental renoform a immediates the united states to facilitate that transition rather than to it impose anything from the outside. >> we'll have more after this quick break. rooms hotels can't . with unpublished rates. which means i get an even more rockin' hotel, for less. where you book matters. expedia.
hello, welcome back. i'm suzanne malveaux. welcome to our "cnn newsroom" special coverage of president obama's speech on the middle east to be delivered just moments away from the state department. >> we're standing by. we understand the president's getting ready to leave the white house, running a little bit late. supposed to have left by now. he'll be going over to the state department, it is a very, very short drive. he'll be introduced by the secretary of state and we'll have a chance to assess what he's saying. >> i'm hala gorani. welcome to our viewers watching us on cnn usa of course and around the world. let's take you to cairo, cairo where on january 25th a movement started that led to the downfall of one of the longest lasting dictators in the arab world, hosni mubarak. fred plight aga
fred, what have people been telling you, you're at a cafe. >> reporter: i am at a cafe. people are saying that they are very much looking to hearing this speech. certainly is the talk of the town, if you will, here in cairo. there's really a mixed bag of expectations. some of them are saying that they want president obama to essentially leave egypt alone and to fend for itself. many believe the revolution happened in egypt not because of what america was doing but in spite of what america was doing because they've certainly believed for a very long time america was cropping up in the middle east. one of the things that make people talk is that this country needs economic help. that's one thing i hear time and again from people, they are looking to hear what kind of economic incentives. joblessness is still a very big
issue here. by and large it doesn't appear as though people are expecting to hear very much of anything new here. >> all right, there we have it, frederick pleitgen, difficulty with our live significant nal. it will be interesting to see after the speech. >> we were talking in the break i lived there for a year or so. the feeling has always been pro-american, love americans but don't like u.s. policy, particularly don't like u.s. policy towards israel. that's always been, as you know, covering the region for so many years, the dichotomy that exists
between egypt and the middle east. >> the other die kchotomy is we like barack obama as an individual and as a leader. there's a huge difference that ordinary people make in the middle east between the man and the policies of the country. that's another important also differentiating sort of -- it is another differentiator. >> you can tell when you cover president obama and president bush, the reception could not be any different. very, very different. >> absolutely. >> jill dougherty at the state department has a little bitle color behind the scene. give us a scene setter, if you will. >> reporter: over at the state department, which is kind of fitting because, after all, this is international policy. and the room really is filled with all sorts of people. you have members of congress, the diplomatic core from all sorts of country that have an interest in this. there are business leaders and
that's important, too, because they are going to be calling this administration on business leaders to help out with some of these countries, egypt and tunisia in particular to help them with economic programs and job programs, et cetera. you have think tanks, of course, those talking heads that we talk to. but they often know quite a lot. then you have nongovernmental organizations. they are important, too, because many of them deal with the type -- we call it civil society, helping people learn how to vote, to hold elections properly and all of that, remember, in this region, some places it was more developed than others. let's say egypt, for example. but when you get to places like yemen or libya, libya's a great example of no structure, no civil society. nothing beneath that leader moammar gadhafi. so the room is filled with a lot of people who are going to be listening very carefully because they probably will have a role to play in this.
>> jill, i understand secretary clinton is going to be playing a role as well, she's going to be introducing the president. i know she had some pretty tough words for syria this past week or so. is there a sense from where you sit that there's a sense of frustration that they cannot get the syrian government to change its behavior, that you still have these protesters essentially in the streets who are being killed, despite these warnings that are coming from the obama administration? >> absolutely, suzanne. in fact i was talking with not enl u.s. officials but officials from other countries and they all express this real frustration because what they say is, over the past weeks, assad, the president, bashar al assad, has been saying some things. he's been saying that he was going to reform. he said he was going to end the emergency rule. but when you looked at what was going on in the streets -- and often, because journalists can't get in there, it's youtube video
and very violent, people dying in the streets. so it is a complete contradiction. his words from what the reality was on the ground. and i think you'd have to say there was a point this week that they -- where they were simply fed up, that the promises weren't good enough, that they realize, they say, that assad was not going to do anything. he was not going to reform and all the warnings were not any good. so the warning they got yesterday was to list him, these economic sanctions, and essentially say, do it or that's it. >> okay, jill dougherty, thank you very much. want to bring it back to our colleague, wolf blitzer, in washington. wolf? >> it's intriguing, suzanne, you'll appreciate this, ed henry will over at white house as well. george mitchell, the special enjoy at least a few days ago is in the audience over there at the state department, getting ready to listen to the president of the united states. a lot of us read his little brief, terse resignation letter, ed, and assumed he was just
throwing his hands up in the air and saying, you know what? this is not happening, i'm out of here. what are white house officials saying? >> reporter: well, this is an intriguing bit, you're absolutely right. some people inside and outside the situation tell me as they read the tea leaves george mitchell was one of the people inside the administration calling for some sort of obama plan, the idea being that the president in this speech or other speeches should lay out a specific detailed approach to getting the mideast peace process going again. white house thus far has rejected that idea, obviously. and so if you read the tea leaves, the fact that george mitchell essentially ran out last friday right before this speech certainly suggests that this president is not going to get too detailed in this speech today at the state department about how to move forward in the mideast peace process. instead, as we now learned the president's just about -- just starting to depart the white house. he's a few minutes late, as you
noted. it certainly suggests that george mitchell did not win that argument for him to leave and instead, the president's going to speak much more generally about the mideast peace process, leave some of the details to tomorrow when he welcomes israeli prime minister benjamin netanyahu to the white house. we should also say sunday here in washington the president will be giving another speech on the mideast to aipac, the american-israeli group. so there will be a flurry of activity even after today's speech but i wouldn't anticipate too much detail about the peace process from this president, wolf. >> ed, i want to bring suzanne into this conversation as well. it is intriguing to me he decided woe speak at this time. it is now approaching noon, exactly noon on the east coast of the united states, it is 56:00 p.m. in tunis, 6:00 p.m. in cairo, 7:00 p.m. in jerusalem. these are times when people are near a television, they can watch. they specifically timed this
address so that people throughout europe, the middle east, north africa would be at home after work getting ready to watch the president of the united states. that's one of the key audiences, suzanne, that the president has right now. he's got an american audience he's got to deal with. he's getting ready for his re-election campaign, as we all know, but he wants to address the muslim world, the arab world, the world at large. >> absolutely, wolf. that's a very good point, that perception, the president's perception in the middle east among the arab world is very important. i have a question for you. because i know that you have been interviewed many times israeli prime minister benjamin netanyahu. he's going to be at the white house tomorrow as ed had mentioned. we have seen these two leaders, obama and netanyahu struggle from time to time. ill anever forget that visit, it was just last year when netanyahu was left in the roosevelt room because there was an impasse over israeli settlements and the president went to the residence. since then it seeps as if they have made amenldz heds here.
but what is your take on this relationship, this back-and-forth, this gamesmanship we've seen between these two very powerful men. >> they will both try to make it look as positive as possible. they both have their respective political interests to make it look like they have a good, strong relationship. but let's not be under any illusions, they don't. i don't think prime minister netanyahu trusts plresident obama, i don't think president obama trusts benjamin netanyahu. there's issues that have come to the fore the last couple of issues have worried the president. i think this has caused a lot of heartburn in prime minister netanyahu's government and at the same time within the president's inner circle. there's a lot of heartburn as well. they will try to make it look like the relationship is good,
but i don't think it is as good as it could be or obviously should be, both sides would have to make major concessions right now and politically speaking i'm not sure either is going to be doing much. >> hala, why don't you weigh in. >> well, i find interesting that the middle east and international reaction with regards to what president obama might or might not say about the israeli-palestinian peace process and trying to restart it. we've heard a lot from commentators who have said, look, we cannot at this point hear the same rhetoric from the president, suzanne, we can't hear "platitudes," i've heard this word a lot -- regarding the peace process. we need fundamentally concrete initiatives that address the core issues, not just we need to restart the peace process. but we need to talk about the settlements. we need to talk about jerusalem. we need to talk about the right of return for refugees, and this needs to be done concretely in a way that is mapped out. we've heard that a lot. so i think if we don't hear that from the president in this
speech today, and ed henry was mentioning, we're not expecting specifics today in this speech regarding the israeli-palestinian peace process, but at the very least tomorrow after the meeting with benjamin netanyahu then there will again be skepticism as to this process as there was in september of 2010 when we covered the peace summit at the white house. >> how much of this is really an excuse for some of the arab leaders? we've heard that from the bush administration, from the obama administration, saying every single time we lay out this, you want us to solve the problem here and it's used as an excuse not to address their own economic problems, their own former dictatorships, their political problems at home. >> no. i think as far as the israeli-palestinian peace process is concerned it is a little bit different. the united states is seen as potentially an entity that can affect change. it is perceived in the middle east as working in the interest of israel before it works in the interest of the palestinians. i think that's the big difference here, that the united
states is seen as being able to affect change in this process in a way that it isn't in other parts of the middle east. and that's the big difference there, i believe. >> all right. hala, thank you very much. wolf or ed, twunt ayou want to ? >> i just want to bring in gloria and john king for a moment on this whole relationship this president has. gloria, as you know, the best-laid american politics is having a significant role right now in what the president can or cannot say as far as israel and the palestinians are concerned. >> barack obama, let me remind you -- although i'm sure you all know -- won 80% of the jewish vote last time around. they've been very skeptical of barack obama because of the pressure on the settlement issue. as you pointed out earlier. israel is feeling very risk averse right now because the diplomatic world has kind of just blown up around them and i think they want to go slowly. and so as we see this tension
within the administration about how specific to get from the hillary clinton camp who wants the administration to be more specific, versus the national security camp who says, you know what? now is not the right time, which is what netanyahu feels. it really is very much a matter of domestic politics. >> he is guided by history, wolf. you remember late in the clinton administration we were covering the camp david accords, the closest this has ever come. there was a peace process then. the israelis were talking to the palestinians. we use the term "peace process" now. there is no bro ses. they're not talking. conversations now are about trying to restart the process. mr. yetten netanyahu says if h too much, his government will collapse. how will the split between fatah and hamas work out? we don't know. mr. there's no american magic wand. he can't say let's make peace. president bush tried for years and said i can't get too deeply involved in this because look how hard bill clinton tried and
he couldn't get it done. there's been frustration across administrations. if mr. netanyahu won't give and mr. abbas can't or won't give, why should the president invest himself? why can't the president say let's get roughly to the 1967 borders. that's where they were at camp david at the end of the clinton days. prime minister barak said i can't give you that. they got to close and it collapsed. now the president's having the conversations with so much else happening in the region. >> that would be kind of the middle ground, wouldn't it? sort of just between being very vague and general and being very specific. at least you say, okay, here's the starting point. >> we'll hear if he says, suzanne and hala, we'll hear from the president of the united states refers to those 1967 lines that the israelis have. that will be a significant statement if in fact he does, although that's been the long standing u.s. policy going back basically to 1967. suzanne, we're only a few
minutes away. the president's over at the state department now. the secretary of state will introduce him and then we'll get to hear what he actually has to say. >> i want to welcome everyone to this "cnn newsroom" special. we are awaiting the president's comments. we're getting a two-minute warning now. we're told he'll be speaking at the state department. also want to welcome those around the world who are watching and waiting for his comments. we are watching across the globe. we have correspondents, teams, throughout the world. frederick fligpleitgen is in ca kevin flower in jerusalem, ed henry at the white house, jill dougherty at the state department. ed, set the scene for us before the president speaks. >> suzanne, as you know, this is a key moment for this president to kind of reset u.s. policy in the mideast. he faced a lot of criticism in recent months for not getting his hands dirty enough in the process, not pushing earlier for example for hosni mubarak to step down in egypt.
he eventually did but he got criticism for not stepping in sooner. he's says he does not believe there is a one-size-fits-all policy. his aides say he has been thinking about this for many weeks now and waiting for a moment in the process to take a step back, take stock of where we are right now and give some specifics on how the u.s. may be able to help foster some democracies in the region. and so number one, you had the pivotal moment osama bin laden being killed. the president will talk about that. number two, he wants to talk about providing some economic aid to the region since let's not forget, that a lot of these popular protests started not just with a frustration about human rights but frustration about vast, vast economic problems in the region as well. >> ed, we know that this was very important. a high priority when he first took office.
tell us a little bit more about this speech kind of resetting 2.0? here's hillary clinton making her way to the podium to introduce the president. let's take a listen. >> thank you all. and welcome to the state department. i am delighted to be here to welcome the president, as well as our colleagues from the diplomatic core, senator kerry and senior officials from across our government, and especially the many young foreign service and civil servants who are here today. mr. president, from your first days in office, you have charged us with implementing a bold, new approach for america's foreign policy. a new blueprint for how we advance our values, project our leadership, and strengthen our partnerships. and we have seen that in a
changing world, america's leadership is more essential than ever. but that we often must lead in new and innovative ways. and so, mr. president, these foreign service officers and these civil servants, the men and women of the state department and usaid work every day to translate your vision into real results, results on the ground in nearly every country in the world. that's why the work we have done to provide them with the tools and resources they need to perform their mission is so important. and it's why we need to keep making the case for those resources. because alongside our colleagues in the defense department, america's diplomats and development experts at the state department and usaid are on the front lines of protecting america's security, advancing america's interests, and projecting america's values.
as a wave of change continues to sweep across the middle east and north africa, they are carrying our diplomacy and development far beyond the embassy walls, engaging with citizens in the streets and through social networks, as they seek to move from protests to politics. with ngos and businesses working to create new economic opportunities, and with transitional leaders trying to build the institutions of genuine democracy. they represent the best of america and i'm so proud to have them as our face to the world. mr. president, it is fitting that you have chosen to come here to the state department to speak about the dramatic changes we have witnessed around the world this year. now on the back wall of this historic benjamin franklin room is a portrait of the leader of tunis, given as a gift in 1865 by the people of tunisia in honor of the enduring friendship
between our nations at the end of our civil war. a century and a half later, tunisians and courageous citizens from across the region have given the world another gift -- a new opening to work together for democracy and dignity, for peace and opportunity. these are the values that made america a great nation, but they do not belong to us alone. they are truly universal. and it is profoundly in our interests that more people in more places claim them as their own. this moment belongs to the people of the middle east and north africa. they have seized control of their destiny and will make the choices that determine how the future of the region unfolds. but for america, this is a moment that calls out for clear vision, firm principles and sophisticated understanding of the indispensable role our country can, and must, play in
the world. those have been the hallmarks of president obama's leadership from his first day in office. so it is with great confidence and faith in our future that i welcome the president of the united states, barack obama. >> thank you. thank you. thank you very much. thank you. please, have a seat. thank you very much. i want to begin by thanking hillary clinton, who has traveled so much these last six months that she is approaching a new landmark -- 1 million frequent flyer miles. i count on hillary every single
day and i believe that she will go down as one of the finest secretaries of state in our nation's history. the state department is a fitting venue to mark a new chapter in american diplomacy. for six months, we have witnessed an extraordinary change taking place in the middle east and north africa. square by square, town by town, country by country, the people have risen up to demand their basic human rights. two leaders have stepped aside. more may follow. and though these countries may be a great distance from our shores, we know that our own future is bound to this region by the forces of economics and security, by history and by
faith. today i want to talk about this change, the forces that are driving it and how we can respond in a way that advances our values and strengthens our security. now already we've done much to shift our foreign policy following a decade defined by two costly conflicts. after years of war in iraq, we've removed 100,000 american troops and ended our combat mission there. in afghanistan, we've broken the taliban's momentum. and this july we will begin to bring our troops home and continue a transition to afghan lead. after years of war against al qaeda and its affiliates, we have dealt al qaeda a huge blow by killing its leader, osama bin laden. bin laden was no martyr. he was a mass murderer who offered a message of hate, an
insistence that muslims had to take up arms against the west and that violence against men and women and children was the only path to change. he rejected democracy and individual rights for muslims in favor of violent extremism. his agenda focused on what he could destroy, not what he could build. bin laden and his murderest vision won some adherence, but even before his death al qaeda was losing its struggle for relevance as the overwhelming majority of people saw that the slaughter of innocents did not answer their cries for a better life. by the time we found bin laden, al qaeda's agenda had come to be seen by the vast majority of the region as a dead end, and the people of the middle east and
north africa had taken their future into their own hands. that story of self-determination began six months ago in tunisia. on december 17th a vendor was devastated when a police officer confiscated his cart. this was not unique. it is the same kind of humiliation that takes place every day in many parts of the world. the relentless tyranny of governments that deny their citizens dignity. only this time something different happened. after local officials refused to hear his complaints, this young man, who had never been particularly active in politics, went to the headquarters of the provincial government, doused himself in fuel, and lit himself on fire. there are times in the course of history when the actions of ordinary citizens spark
movements for change because they speak to a longing for freedom that has been building up for years. in america think of the defiance of those patriots in boston who refused to pay taxes to a king, or the dignity of rosa parks as she sat courageously in her seat. so it was in tunisia, as that vendor's act of desperation tapped into the frustration felt throughout the country. hundreds of protesters took to the streets, then thousands. and in the face of batons and sometimes bullets, they refused to go home. day after day, week after week, until a dictator of more than two decades finally left power. the story of this revolution and the ones that followed should not have come as a surprise. the nations of the middle east and north africa won their independence long ago, but in
too many places, their people did not. in too many countries power has been concentrated in the hands of a few. in too many countries, a citizen like that young vendor had nowhere to turn, no honest judiciary to hear his case, no independent media to give him voice, no credible political party to represent his views, no free and fair election where he could choose his leader. and this lack of self-determination, the chance to make your life what you will, has applied to the region's economy as well. yes, some nations are blessed with wealth and oil and gas and that has led to pockets of prosperity. but, in a global economy based on knowledge, based on innovation, no development strategy can be based solely upon what comes out of the
ground. nor can people reach their potential when you cannot start a business without paying a bribe. in the face of these challenges, too many leaders in the region tried to direct their people's grievances elsewhere. the west was blamed as the source of all ills, a half century after the end of colonialism. antagonism toward israel became the only acceptable outlet for political expression. divisions of tribe, ethnicity and religious sect were manipulated as a means of holding on to power, or taking it away from somebody else. but the events of the past six months show us that strategies of repression and strategies of aversion will not work anymore. satellite television and the internet provide a window into
the wider world, a world of astonishing progress in places like india and indonesia and brazil. cell phones and social networks allow young people to connect and organize like never before. and so a new generation has emerged, and their voices tell us that change cannot be denied. in cairo we heard the voice of the young mother who said, "it's like i can finally breathe fresh air for the first time." in sanaa, we heard the students who chanted "the night must come to an end." in benghazi we heard the engineer who said "our words are free now. it is a feeling you can't explain." in damascus, we heard the young man who said, "after the first yelling, the first shout, you feel dignity."
those shouts of human dignity are being heard across the region and through the moral force of nonviolence, the people of the region have achieved more change in six months than terrorists have accomplished in decad decades. of course, change of this magnitude does not come easily. in our day and age, a time of 24-hour news cycles and constant communication, people expect the transformation of the region to be resolved in a matter of weeks. but it will be years before this story reaches its end. along the way there will be good days and there will be bad days. in some places change will be swift. in others, gradual. and as we've already seen, calls for change may give way in some cases to fierce contests for
power. the question before us is what role america will play as this story unfolds. for decades, the united states has pursued a set of core interests in the region. countering terrorism and stopping the spread of nuclear weapons, securing the free flow of commerce and safeguarding the security of the region, standing up for israel's security and pursuing arab-israeli peace. we will continue to do these things with a firm belief that america's interests are not hostile to people's hopes, they're essential to them. we believe that no one benefits from a nuclear arms race in the region or al qaeda's brutal attacks. we believe people everywhere would see their economies crippled by a cut-off in energy supplies. as we did in the gulf war, we will not tolerate aggress across
borders and we will keep our commitments to friends and partne partners. yet we must acknowledge that a strategy based solely upon the narrow pursuit of these interests will not fill an empty stomach or allow someone to speak their mind. moreover, failure to speak to the broader aspirations of ordinary people will only feed the feeling that's festered for years that the united states pursues our interests at their expense. given that this mistrust runs both ways, as americans have been seared by hostage taking and violent rhetoric and terrorist attacks that have killed thousands of our citizens. a failure to change our approach threatens a deepening spiral of division between the united states and the arab world. and that's why two years ago in
cairo, i began to broaden our engagement based upon mutual interests and mutual respect. i believed then, and i believe now, that we have a stake not just in the stability of nations, but in the self-determination of individuals. the status quo is not sustainable. society's held together by fear and repression may offer the illusion of stability for a time, but they're built upon faultlines that will eventually tear us under. so we face a historic opportunity. we had the chance to show that america values the dignity of the street vendor in tunisia more than the raw power of the dictator. there must be no doubt that the united states of america welcomes change that advances
self-determination and opportuni opportunity. yes, there will be perils that accompany this moment of promise. but after decades of accepting the world as it is in the region, we have a chance to pursue the world as it should be. of course, as we do, we must proceed with a sense of humility. it's not america that put people into the streets of tunis or cairo. it was the people themselves who launched these movements. and as the people themselves that must ultimately determine their outcome. not every country will follow our particular form of representative democracy. and there will be times when our short-term interests don't align perfectly with our long-term vision for the region. but we can, and we will, speak
out for a set of core principles, principles that have guided our response to events over the past six months. the united states opposes the use of violence and repression against the people of the reg n region. the united states supports a set of universal rights, and these rights include free speech, the freedom of peaceful assembly, the freedom of religion, a quality for men and women under the rule of law, and the right to choose your own leaders. whether you live in baghdad or damascus, sanaa or tehran, and we support political and economic reform in the middle east and north africa that can meet the legitimate aspirations of ordinary people throughout the region.
our support for these principles is not a secondary interest. today, i want to make it clear that it is a top priority that must be translated into concrete actions and supported by all of the diplomatic, economic, and strategic tools at our disposal. let me be specific. first, it will be the policy of the united states to promote reform across the region and to support transitions to democracy. that effort begins in egypt and tunisia where the stakes are high, as tunisia was at the vanguard of this democratic wave and egypt is both a long standing partner and the arab world's largest nation. both nations can set a strong example through free and fair elections, a vibrant civil society, accountable and
effective democratic institutions, and responsible regional leadership. but our support must also extend to nations where transitions have yet to take place. unfortunately, in too many countries, calls for change have thus far been answered by violence. the most extreme example is libya where moammar gadhafi launched a war against his own people, promising to hunt them down like rats. as i said when the united states joined an international coalition to intervene, we cannot prevent every injustice perpetrated by a regime against its people, and we have learned from our experience in iraq just how costly and difficult it is to try to impose regime change by force, no matter how well intentioned it may be. but in libya, we saw the
prospect of imminent massacre. we had a mandate for action and heard the libyan people's call for help. had we not acted, along with our nato allies and regional coalition partners, thousands would have been killed. the message would have been clear -- keep power by killing as many people as it takes. now time is working against gadhafi. he does not have control over his country. the opposition has organized a legitimate and credible interim counsel, and when gadhafi inevitably leaves or is forced from power, decades of provocation will come to an end and a transition to a ldemocratc libya can proceed. while libya has faced violence on the greatest scale, it is not the only place where leaders have turned to repression to remain in power. most recently the syrian regime has chosen the path of murder
and the mass arrests of its citizens. the united states has condemned these actions and working with the international community we have stepped up our sanctions on the syrian regime, including sanctions announced yesterday on president assad and those around him. the syrian people have shown their courage in demanding a transition to democracy. president assad now has a choice. he can lead that transition or get out of the way. the syrian government must stop shooting demonstrators and allow peaceful protests. it must release political prisoners and stop unjust arrests. it must allow human rights monitors to have access to cities like dara. president assad and his regime will otherwise be challenged from within and will continue to
be isolated abroad. so far syria has followed its iranian ally seeking assistance from tehran in the tactics of suppression. and this speaks to the hypocrisy of the iranian regime, which says it stands for the rights of protesters abroad, yet represses its own people at home. let's remember that the first peaceful protests in the region were in the streets of tehran where the government brutalized women and men and threw innocent people into jail. we still hear the chants echo from the rooftops of tehran, the image of a young woman dying in the streets is still seared in our memory. and we will continue to insist that the iranian people deserve their universal rights and a government that does not smother
their a aspirations. now our opposition to iran's intolerance and iran's repressive measures, as well as its illicit nuclear program and its support of terror, is well known. but if america is to be credible, we must acknowledge that at times our friends in the region have not all reacted to the demands for consistent chan change, with change that's consistent with the principles that i've outlined today. that's true in yemen where president saleh needs to follow through on his commitment to transfer power. and that's true today in bahrain. bahrain is a long standing partner and we are committed to its security. we recognize that iran has tried to take advantage of the turmoil
there, and that the bahraini government has a legitimate interest in the rule of law. nevertheless, we have insisted both publicly and privately that mass arrests and brute force are at odds with the universal rights of bahrain's citizens, and such steps will not make legitimate calls for reform go away. the only way forward is for the government and opposition to engage in a dialogue and you can't have a real dialogue when parts of the peaceful opposition are in jail. the government must create the conditions for dialogue and the opposition must participate to forge a just future for all bahrainis. indeed, one of the broader lessons to be drawn from this period is that sectarian divides
need not lead to conflict. in iraq we see the promise of a multi-ethnic, multi-sectarian democra democracy. the iraqi people have rejected the perils of political violence in favor of a democratic process. even as they have taken full responsibility for their own security. of course, like all new democracies, they will face setbacks. but iraq is poised to play a key role in the region if it continues its peaceful progress. and as they do, we will be proud to stand with them as a steadfast partner. so in the months ahead, america must use all our influence to encourage reform in the region. even as we acknowledge that each country is different, we need to speak honestly about the
principles that we believe in with friend and foe alike. our message is simple -- if you take the risks that reform entails, you will have the full support of the united states. we must also build on our efforts to broaden our engagement beyond elites so that we reach the people who will shape the future, particularly young people. we will continue to make good on the commitments that i made in cairo, to build networks of entrepreneurs and expand exchanges in education, to foster cooperation in science and technology and combat disease. across the region we intend to provide assistance to civil society, including those that may not be officially sanctioned and who speak uncomfortable truths. and we will use the technology to connect with and listen to
the voices of the people many. for the fact is, real reform does not come at the ballot box alone. through our efforts we must support those basic rights to speak your mind and access information. we will support open access to the internet and the right of journalists to be heard, whether it's a big news organization or a lone blogger. in the 21st century, information is power. the truth cannot be hidden and the legitimacy of governments will ultimately depend on active and informed citizens. such open discourse is important, even if what is said does not square with our world view. let me be clear, america respects the right of all peaceful and law abiding voices to be heard.
even if we disagree with them. and sometimes we profoundly disagree with them. we look forward to working with all who embrace genuine and inclusive democracy. what we will oppose is an attempt by any group to restrict the rights of others and to hold power through coercion and not consent. because democracy depends not only on elections, but also strong and accountable institutions, and the respect for the rights of minorities. such tolerance is particularly important when it comes to religion. in tahrir square, we heard egyptians from all walks of life chant "muslims, christians, we are one." america will work to see that this spirit prevails, that all faiths are respected, and that bridges are built among them.
in a region that was the birthplace of three world religions, intolerance can lead only to suffering and stagnation. for this season of change to succeed, coptic christians must have the right to worship freely in cairo just as shia must never have their mosques destroyed in bahrain. what is true for religious minorities is also true when it comes to the rights of women. history shows that countries are more prosperous and more peaceful when women are empowered. that's why we will continue to insist that universal rights apply to women as well as men, by focusing assistance on child and maternal health, by helping women to teach or start a business, by standing up for the right of women to have their voices heard and to run for
office. the region will never reach its full potential when more than half of its population is prevented from achieving their full potential. now even as we promote political reform, even as we promote human rights in the region, our efforts can't stop there. so the second way that we must support positive change in the region is through our efforts to advance economic development for nations that are transitioning to democracy. after all, politics alone has not put protesters into the streets. the tipping point for so many people is the more constant concern of putting food on the table and providing for a family. too many people in the region wake up with few expectations other than making it through the
day, perhaps hoping that their luck will change. throughout the region many young people have a solid education but closed economies leave them unable to find a job. entrepreneurs are brimming with ideas, but corruption leaves them unable to profit from those ideas. the greatest untapped resource in the middle east and north africa is the talent of its people. and the recent protests we see that talent on display as people harness technology to move the world. it's no coincidence that one of the leaders for tahrir square was an executive for google. that energy now needs to be channeled in country after country so that economic growth can solidify the accomplishments of the street. for just as democratic revolutions can be triggered by a lack of individual
opportunity, successful democratic transitions depend upon an expansion of growth and broad based prosperity. so, drawing from what we've learned around the world, we think it's important to focus on trade, not just aid, on investment, not just assistance. the goal must be a model in which protectionism gives way to openness and the reins of commerce pass from the few to the many and the economy generates jobs for the young. america's support for democracy will therefore be based on ensuring financial stability, promoting reform, and integrating competitive markets with each other and the global economy and we're going to start with tunisia and egypt. first we've asked the world bank and the international monetary fund to present a plan at next week's g-8 summit for what needs to be done to stabilize and
modernize the economies of tunisia and egypt. together, we must help them recover from the disruptions of their democratic upheaval and support the governments that will be elected later this year. and we are urging other countries to help egypt and tunisia meet its near-term financial needs. second, we do not want a democratic egypt to be saddled by the debts of its past. so we will relieve a democratic egypt of up to $1 billion in debt and work with our egyptian partners to invest these resources to foster growth and entrepreneurship. we will help egypt regain access to markets by guaranteeing $1 billion in borrowing that is needed to finance infrastructure and job creation. and we will help newly democratic governments recover assets that were stolen. third, we're working with
congress to create enterprise funds to invest in tunisia and egypt and these will be modeled on funds that supported the transitions in eastern europe after the fall of the berlin wall. opec will soon launch a $2 billion facility to support private investment across the region and we will work with the allies to refocus the european bank for reconstruction and development so it provides the same support for democratic transitions and economic modernization in the middle east and north africa as it has in europe. fourth, the united states will launch a comprehensive trade and investment partnership initiative in the middle east and north africa. if you take out oil exports, this entire region of over 400 million people exports roughly the same amount as switzerland. so we will work with the eu to facilitate more trade within the
region, build on existing agreements to promote integration with u.s. and european markets, and open the door for those countries who adopt high standards of reform and trade liberalization to construct a regional trade arrangement. and just as eu membership served as an incentive for reform in europe, so should the vision of a modern and prosperous economy create a powerful force for reform in the middle east and north africa. prosperity also requires tearing down walls that stand in the way of progress. the corruption of elites who steal from their people, the red tape that stops an idea from becoming a business, the patronage that distributes wealth based on tribe or sect. we will help governments meet international obligations and invest efforts at anticorruption. by working with parliamentarian
who are developing reforms and access technology to increase transparency and hold government accountable. politics and human rights, economic reform. let me conclude by talking about another cornerstone of our approach to the region, and that relates to the pursuit of peace. for decades the conflict between israelis and arabs has cast a shadow over the region. for israelis, it has meant living with the fear that their children could be blown up on a bus or by rockets fired at their homes. as well as the pain of knowing that other children in the region are taught to hate them. for palestinians, it has meant suffering the humiliation of
occupation and never living in a nation of their own. moreover, this conflict has come with a larger cost to the middle east as it impedes partnerships that could bring greater security and prosperity and empowerment to ordinary people. for over two years my administration has worked with the parties and the international community to end this conflict, building on decades of work by previous administrations. yet expectations have gone unmet. israeli settlement activity continues, palestinians have walked away from talks, the world looks at a conflict that has grinded on and on and on and sees nothing but stalemate. indeed, there are those who argue that with all the change an uncertainty in the region, it is simply not possible to move
forward now. i disagree. at a time when the people of the middle east an north africa are casting off the burdens of the past, the drive for a lasting peace that ends the conflict and resolves all claims is more urgent than ever. that's certainly true for the two parties involved. for the palestinians, efforts to delegitimize israel will end in failure. symbolic actions to isolate israel at the united nations in september won't create an independent state. palestinian leaders will not achieve peace or prosperity if hamas insists on a path of terror and rejection. and palestinians will never realize their independence by denying the right of israel to
exist. as for israel, our friendship is rooted deeply in a shared history and shared values. our commitment to israel's security is unshakeable. we will stand against attempts to single it out for criticism in international forums. but precisely because of our friendship, it's important that we tell the truth. the status quo is unsustainable and israel, too, must act boldly to advance a lasting peace. the fact is, a growing number of palestinians live west of the jordan river. technology will make it harder for israel to defend itself. a region undergoing profound change will lead to populism in which millions of people -- not just one or two leaders -- must believe peace is possible.
the international community is tired of an endless process that never produces an outcome. the dream of a jewish and democratic state cannot be fulfilled with permanent occupation. now ultimately it is up to the israelis and palestinians to take action. no peace can be imposed upon them, not by the united states, not by anybody else. but endless delay won't make the problem go away. what america and the international community can do is to state frankly what everyone knows -- a lasting peace will involve two states for two peoples. israel as a jewish state and the homeland for the jewish people, and the state of palestine as the homeland for the palestinian people. each state enjoying
self-determination, mutual recognition and peace. so while the core issues of the conflict must be negotiated, the basis of those negotiations is clear. a viable palestine, a secure isra israel. the united states believes that negotiations should result in two states with permanent palestinian borders with israel, jordan and egypt, and permanent israeli borders with palestine. we believe the borders of israel and palestine should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps so that secure and recognized borders are established for both states. the palestinian people must have the right to govern themselves and reach their full potential in a sovereign and contiguous
state. as for security, every state has the right to self-defense, and israel must be able to defend itself, by itself, against any threat. provisions must also be robust enough to prevent a resurgence of terrorism, to stop the i infiltration of weapons and to provide effective border security. the full and phased withdrawal of israel military forces should be coordinated with the assumption of palestinian security responsibility in a sovereign, nonmilitarized state and the duration of this transition period must be agreed and the effectiveness of security arrangements must be demonstrated. these principles provide a foundation for negotiations. palestinians should know the territorial outlines of their
state, israelis should know that their basic security concerns will be met. i am aware that these steps alone will not resolve the conflict because two wrenching and emotional issues will remain -- the future of jerusalem and the fate of palestinian refugees. but moving forward now on the basis of territory and security provides a foundation to resolve those two issues in a way that is just and fair. and this respects the rights and aspirations of both israelis and palestinians. now let me say this. recognizing that negotiations need to begin with the issues of territory and security does not mean that it will be easy to come back to the table. in particular, the recent announcement of an agreement
between fatah and hamas raises profound and legitimate questions for israel. how can one negotiate with a party that has shown itself unwilling to recognize your right to exist? in the weeks and months to come, palestinian leaders will have to provide a credible answer to that question. meanwhile, the united states, our quartet partners and the arab states will need to continue every effort to get beyond the current impasse. i recognize how hard this will be. suspicion and hostility has been passed on for generations. and at times it has hardened. but i'm convinced that the majority of israelis and palestinians would rather look to the future than to be trapped in the past. we see that spirit in the sketh
father whose son was killed by hamas who brought together palestinians and israelis who lost loved ones. that father said i gradually realized that the only hope for progress was to recognize the face of the conflict. we see it in the actions of a palestinian who lost three daughters to israeli shells in gaza. i have the right to feel angry, he said. so many people were expecting me to hate. my answer to them is, i shall not hate. let us hope, he said, for tomorr tomorrow. that is the choice that must be made. not simply in the israeli-palestinian conflict, but across the entire region. a choice between hate and hope, between the shackles of the past
and the promise of the future. it is a choice that must be made by leaders and by the people, and it is a choice that will define the future of a region that served as the cradle of civilization and a crucible of strife. for all of the challenges that lie ahead we see many reasons to be hopeful. in egypt we see it in the efforts of young people who led protests, in syria we see it in the courage of those who brave bullets while chanting peaceful. peaceful. in benbenghazi, a city threaten with destruction, we see in the courthouse square where people gathered to celebrate the freedoms that they had never known. across the region those rights that we take for granted are being claimed with joy by those who are prying loose the grip of
an iron fist. for the american people, the scenes of upheaval in the region may be unsettling, but the forces driving it are not unfamiliar. our own nation was founded through a rebellion against an empire. our people fought a painful civil war that extended freedom and dignity to those who were enslaved. and i would not be standing here today unless past generations turned to the moral force of nonviolence as a way to perfect our union. organizing, marching, protesting peacefully, together, to make real those words that declared our nation, we hold these truths to be self-evident that all men
are created equal. those words must guide our response to the change that is transforming the middle east and north africa. words which tell us that repression will fail and that tyrants will fall. and that every man and woman is endowed with certain inalien rights. it will not be easy. there's no straight line to progress and hardship always accompanies a season of hope. but the united states of america was founded on the belief that people should govern themselves and now we cannot hesitate to stand squarely on the side of those who are reaching for their rights, knowing that their success will bring about a world that is more peaceful, more stable, and more just. thank you very much, everybody.